Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Few of my Favorites

A Few of My Favorite Things on Friday

This one is going to be a little heavy on the Carsonman.  But that's ok.  I'll catch the other two up soon enough.  I'd love to blog all about how I make sure I am fair to all three of my little tinies, but I'll have to wait until I figure that one out.

So, Carson has wowed us many ways over the past year.  One of the biggest ways is the confidence he has developed in himself as a creator.  This boy is going places.  And I want to share a few of my favorite moments with Carson.

He has always loved cooking with me.  Lately he has wanted to create in the kitchen.  Such a foreign concept to me because I need a recipe.  Just another reminder of how much our kids can teach us, if we'll let them.

Here he is with a chicken soup of his own invention.  He told me what veggies to buy, he cut them, added them to the pot along with some garlic (which he pressed using my garlic press) and stirred the chicken and noodles in as well.  It was delicious!  He also flipped the pancakes for us one morning this week (I kinda love two-hour delays).

This electric griddle is also one of my favorite things.  Eight pancakes at once!  That's what I'm talking about.

Back to Big C.  Carson has also blown us out of the water with his artistic abilities.  I have always seen his talent in art, but I'm his mommy, so I am a bit biased.  This year, we learned that it's not just our family who thinks he has a knack for art.  Carson's art teacher, Mrs. Palamountain, sent his artwork to be displayed in the Superintendent's Office!  We could not be more proud of this little guy.


Carson's yearbook design won runner up and will be displayed on the back of the yearbook this year.

And have I mentioned what an amazing big brother he is?  He is so helpful with Camden, always willing to get him up from his nap and to play playdough with him.

I love my Carson and I can't wait to see what he'll be up to next!

Monday, February 23, 2015

If You're Happy and You Know It

Fake it til you make it.  Put on a happy face.  This too shall pass.  All of these are common sayings we hear when things are not going our way.  And while they can seem a bit trite in the moment, there is some truth behind believing in these words.

I'd like to add another saying to this list.  And while I can't claim it as my own, I can tell you that we have adopted it as our own and that it has put many a smile on my family's faces.   And we just heard it yesterday.

If you're happy and you know it, tell your face.

At church yesterday, Pastor Furtick asked us to look at the emoticons he had displayed behind him on the stage, and to pick the one that most accurately described our spouse.  I turned to Justin and said, "I don't even want to know."  And sure enough, he picked the mad and frustrated face.  He did add that lately he would choose that face, implying that I don't always look mad and frustrated, just lately. But I would actually prefer to never look mad and frustrated.  So in my journal, I drew a picture of what I would like my face to look like.

I believe that images are powerful things.  Maybe because I am such a visual learner, or maybe because our world is just so filled with images with the inundation of screens and media.  I do know that when I look at something pretty or happy, it can lift my mood dramatically.

Yesterday I had a perfect opportunity to exercise this newfound expression, coined by Pastor Furtick, when I had to tell my face to be happy after a very frustrating experience.  I was exhausted after a long weekend, my big boys were arguing with me about practicing the piano, my little boy sat in mud in his church clothes, and it was raining.  Again.  Justin called and I said to him on the phone, "I just want to run away."  Luckily, I muttered these words behind the closed door of our laundry room.  Then I flung the door open, and told my face to be happy.  We turned on Happy by Pharrell Williams, and watched Camden dance all our cares away.  I put dinner together (thank goodness for crock pot meals), and I faked it til I made it.  I remembered this too shall pass.  I looked on my boys with hearts in my eyes and a smile on my face.

Proverbs 15:13 says "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance."  I didn't feel too cheerful at the beginning of the night, but I am a pretty good pretender.  And once I had pretended for long enough, my heart caught up, and I felt cheerful.  Pastor Furtick said, "The world's definition of joy is what flows to you, but God's definition of joy is what flows from you."  And sometimes we have to "give the thing that we need to get the thing that we want."  Well, last night, all I wanted was some peace and harmony.  And I set the tone for that to happen.  Simply by telling my face to smile.

I am sure many of you have had nights like these.  And I know I'll have more.  Last night could have ended in tears and frustration, but the message I heard Sunday morning turned the evening around.  I know that each time I squash the gut instinct to kick and scream and want to run away with a cheerful countenance, I smooth the road for the next time trials come my way.  I also know that each time I look upon my boys with hearts in my eyes and a smile on my face, they see me as a mommy they can look up to, trust, and come to.  And that is one of my most important jobs in this life.  To be a mommy who is available to them, who has a happy heart open for them at all times.

I'm still learning.  And it's still hard to smile sometimes.  To put on a happy face when all I want to do is run away.  But it's getting easier.  And life is good.  God is good.

I used packing tape to secure my happy face on to the front of my journal, as a reminder to my face to reflect my heart.

Here is a link to Pastor Furtick's sermon, Cheer Up Check Up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Babe!

It's tough having a birthday in the middle of the winter.  It's also tough having a birthday that coincides with a major holiday.  Sometimes it feels like the emphasis is placed on getting through this time of year, trying to stay healthy, and trying not to lose our minds.  Which is why I want to take a few minutes to celebrate my man.  Because he's worth it.  And it should be all about him right now.

A few things I love about Justin...

He's a goofball.

He's a planner.  And thank goodness he dreams big, because he has orchestrated some amazing trips.

He's a lover of traditions.

Let's not forget, he's strikingly handsome.

And most importantly...

He loves us.

Our boys love him right back...

And so do I...

every bit as much as the day I said, "I do."


Friday, February 6, 2015

Pick 3

The problem is the pattern, the problem is the pattern, the problem is the pattern.

The problem is the pattern.  The title and theme of one of Pastor Furtick's (Elevation church) most recent sermons.  I love how so many of his sermons can be applied not only to faith, but to living a better life.  Being more effective.  Being a better mom, wife, husband, person.

I am not an expert on anything I write about motherhood, but I am raising my third boy, and I am in the trenches.  I want to share a saying that goes through my head almost as much as the problem is the pattern, that has become something that helps me get through my day.

I am one of those people who is always late.  I almost always stay up past 11:00 getting stuff done.  And I definitely say yes to too much.  So I started telling myself to "pick 3."  I want to break these patterns.

"Pick 3" may sound simple, but believe me, the one in the trenches, it works.  When I am rushing around trying to clean up after dinner so we can make it to basketball practice on time, I think about how I want to come home to a clean kitchen.  But I also want Carson to be on time to practice.  So I pick three. Three items to clean up before we head out the door.

Picking 3 instead of feeling like I have to clean the whole kitchen is an attainable goal, and will allow me to leave on time.  This guy was non-negotiable.  He was my number one clean up.  Then I progressed to the counters.  If my island is clean, the kitchen feels clean.  So I stacked the dishes in the sink and wiped down the counters.  Numbers 2 and 3, and we were out the door.

So, now to tackle the staying up too late problem.  After the kids are in bed, I get stuff done.  While using that time to check items off my to do list is not necessarily a bad thing, it can make me stay up too late and not have the down time I need to relax and fall asleep when I do finally make it to bed.  When I make myself "pick 3," I am forced to choose the three things that will make the biggest dent in my list.  Sometimes there are non-negotiable items on that list, like doing a load of darks so my boys will have their favorite athletic pants for school the next day.  Or more recently, work on our Disney book so I can order it in time for Justin's birthday.  

Mac users--have you ever used iphoto to create a photo book?  It is super easy!  

When I pick (just) 3, I leave myself enough time to watch a show, look at Facebook, read my favorite blogs, before I go to bed, so I can unwind from my day.  When I push myself to do everything that needs to be done, I find myself working right up until bedtime, and then my mind is still too wired to fall asleep when I do go bed.

Pick 3 also helps me prioritize things in my life.  For example, working out 3 times a week is a non-negotiable for me.  I organize my schedule around my three workouts.  I always work out on Monday, knowing that saving my momsanity workouts for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will definitely get me in trouble!

When we have played too long in the evening and not left ourselves enough time to clean up everything before bed, I ask my kids to "pick 3" things to clean up.  Camden has actually gotten quite good at this as well.  He may be my best cleaner upper.

And most recently, I have "picked 3" days to get up before my kids and have some quiet time and to journal.  I am definitely not so good at this, but I do know that when I read my bible in the morning, in the most still and peaceful time of my day, I set my heart and my mind right to handle anything that comes my way.  

my "happy place" in the quiet of the morning

How do you manage your time so that you don't feel like you have to "do it all?"  Would picking 3 help?  I'd love to hear your thoughts...